Class 3 – Why the NASU is not uniting the Christadelphian community


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Summary Points

Note: This summary was written independent of the class presenter and contains additional information.

1. The NASU is understood differently by the Amended and Unamended. Its approach to resolving the differences in doctrinal belief between the Amended and Unamended communities is to teach both views alongside each other and to encourage the mutual acceptance of each by both communities. This approach has not resolved the concerns, rather it has exacerbated them because doctrinal error, consistently rejected by the Central community is now given permanent acceptance under the NASU.

2. Bible covenants and agreements for a community of believers are intended to be clearly understood, wholeheartedly embraced, and a sincere commitment made to uphold their provisions (Ex. 24:3; Jer. 31:31-34). This is the simple model used in Nehemiah’s day – the covenant was “made, written and sealed” (Neh. 9:38). It was understood by all (not just the elders), it meant the same thing to all, all committed to uphold it, and it unified the community of believers (10:28).

3. 1 Cor. 1:10 provides God’s definition of unity in which all believe the same, all have the same mind, and all give the same judgment. When this unity of belief, teaching, and judgment exists there will be no divisions. Contrast God’s definition with what we are experiencing in Ontario under the UA08/NASU. It has not united us because it does not require ecclesias to maintain a unity of belief, or to uphold the same fellowship practice in which fellowship is extended to the same brothers and sisters. Because the UA08/NASU is not consistent with the principles found in 1 Cor. 10, Ex. 24, Jer. 31 and Neh. 9-10, division is the outcome.

4. To achieve agreement between the two communities, the NASU uses the approach of teaching both doctrinal views – the Truth (Clause 24) as well as the historical errors of Thomas Williams, and lets each reader decide which they prefer to believe. Seeing the Truth present in the NASU has caused some Amended brethren to fail to recognize the errors. Instead of teaching the Truth exclusively (as does our Statement of Faith), two fundamental errors are taught concurrent with the Truth, thus making them permanent additions to the Truth.

The first error is called “inherited legal condemnation” (ILC) because it teaches as a result of the first sin, God placed a legal condemnation upon Adam (and his posterity) which confines a person to the grave forever and must be removed (by a covenant) before a person can be resurrected, even for judgment. It is found on page 3 of the NASU in which Adam’s descendants are said to be born with three conditions (fallen, perishing, and inclined to sin).

Once baptized, this is redefined (in The Way to Life section) to be only the inherited dying nature and proneness to sin; the “fallen” condition having been removed at baptism, just as Bre. Williams and Andrew taught. ILC is also taught under Section I of the Mutual Assurances in which three condemnations are noted, the first being the ILC defined as “condemnation associated with the race headed by Adam is lifted (at baptism). Rom. 8:1-2 is cited in support, which has long been a proof text for this wrong teaching. By contrast, the Truth teaches that we inherit only mortality and a proneness to sin from Adam, not a legal condemnation.

5. The second fundamental error, closely linked to the first, teaches that it is those who are in a covenant relationship with God (circumcision in the Old Testament, baptism in the New Testament), having had the ILC removed, who will be raised for judgment. Five times in the NASU (once on pg 6 [bullet two], four times on pg 7) the teaching of resurrectional judgment based upon covenant relationship is cited and supported as being an acceptable Bible teaching. By contrast, the Truth teaches (in the amendment added to Clause 24) responsibility to a resurrectional judgment is the result of God calling and educating a person, not the person entering into a covenant relationship that removes an ILC. Both brethren Williams and Andrew rejected the amendment as unscriptural teaching.

6. Teaching error alongside Truth is inconsistent with the basic principle of the need to worship God in sincerity and truth. Accommodating these two errors in the NASU also requires this accommodation be reflected in what our young people will be taught – that the Bible is not clear on these matters, since all views, from both communities, become acceptable for fellowship. Until now we have consistently taught our young people (and all unbaptized) that they are resurrectionally responsible to God based upon Him having called and educated them. Under the UA08/NASU, this clear teaching is replaced by an assortment of possibilities and its life saving power – to encourage our young people to become lifelong servants of God, having been called and educated by Him – is lost in the ambiguity.

Additional Reference Material

D. Why the UA08/NASU has Created Turmoil – A Simplified Explanation